Lords debates Agriculture Bill at second reading

Members of the Lords discussed the main principles and purpose of the Agriculture Bill during a second reading, on Wednesday 10 June.

The objective of the bill is to underpin a new agricultural system based on the principle of public money for public goods.

Members discussed the opportunities for domestic farming support of the UK's departure from the EU Common Agricultural Policy, woodland schemes to accelerate the growing of trees for carbon capture and the implications for food standards, animal welfare and the environment of a free trade deal with the USA.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Conservative), Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, opened the debate.

Speakers included a member of the Commission on Food, Farming and the Countryside and the president of Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

The Committee stage, the first chance for detailed line by line examination in the Lords, is yet to be scheduled.

Agriculture Bill

The bill aims to:

  • authorise expenditure for certain agricultural purposes

  • define the law on direct payments following the UK's departure from the EU and in response to exceptional conditions affecting agricultural markets

  • modify retained EU legislation relating to agricultural and rural development payments, public market intervention and private storage

  • provide for reports on food security and the acquisition and use of information connected with food supply chains

  • confer powers to impose obligations on business purchasers of agricultural products, marketing standards, organic products and the classification of carcasses

  • recognise associations of agricultural producers which may benefit from certain exemptions from competition law

  • define the law on fertilisers, traceability of animals, the red meat levy in Great Britain and agricultural tenancies

  • secure compliance with the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Agriculture.